Tuesday, September 04, 2012

"After hours" kayaking...a blue moon and an orange balloon.

So darkness shall be the light, and stillness the dancing.
- T.S. Eliot

Regatta buoy in Sansum Narrows...
shades of "Rover" from "The Prisoner"? 
Yeah, it was a "sixties" thing. Spot the paddler?
There's something I so enjoy about the darkness. Perhaps it is because in such conditions, we sometimes "see" most clearly. One of the delights, for us, with the coming fall season is that it gets darker earlier. That, I realize, may not be a popular notion to express. For those of us, however, who find pleasure paddling in the fading light and into the gathering evening darkness, it means we don't have to stay up so late as the days get shorter!

The orange "balloon"...a water-bound moon.
There was an ulterior motive on this particular evening - it was the second night of the "Blue Moon". If you missed the relatively rare "two moons in a single month", no worries, it'll be back...July 31st, 2015. And it still won't actually be "blue".

The reflective deck rigging on the Spartan V1 gives the kayak 
a cruise ship-like elegance. (I'd choose the skinny boat anyday!)
There is a very special peacefulness on the water at night. There is also ample evidence of the living creatures around us, above us, and beneath us whose "voices" we may miss in the daytime. When the sun is out, the wind is often blowing, the waves are releasing their energy on the shore, and the ubiquitous powerboats are droning on into the distance.

This night, a seal quietly surfaces nearby. We see only the ripples in the water but we hear its breathing. A slow, rhythmical "whooshing" suggests the large wingspan of an eagle or a heron flying above us. Somewhere below, a giant octopus is probably soundlessly drifting in the current - better it stay there! Its "voice" would be too much of a good thing. :)

Pausing, drawing in slow, deep breaths...
and marvelling at the beauty of the night.
Alone on the water, we are aware of each other's presence and track across the narrows. The measured entry of each paddle stroke into the sea causes a silent explosion of tiny particles of light, the magical bioluminescence that sometimes rewards the night-time paddler. The eddies left behind are reminiscent of swirling galaxies of stars. The rising moon brings reflective clothing and tape to life. The rear deck light shines with a warm intensity like a infinitely tiny sun. We won't lose track of each other and, if need be, we will be seen.

Pathway to the moon.
There's something about the darkness. Clearly, there are fewer visual stimuli demanding attention and interpretation.

Or maybe, in the darkness out on the water, the mind is tempted to just...be "still". In so doing, we are more receptive to the subtle, yet sublime in nature.

Looking less blue and more like a celestial regatta buoy,
the amazing moon, last night, from Gabriola Island.
Getting to know the planet in the darkness and the stillness of the "after hours" is a wonderfully rewarding experience. In life, it is the lesser known times, places, and spaces that  can provide the greatest joys. It is the lesser travelled paths that can be so deeply rewarding...and give the heart reason to dance with the treasure of unexpected discovery.

You may may find your mileage...very similar.


With the exception of the last image, all the pics were taken in Sansum Narrows, between Maple Bay and Saltspring Island. The image of the moon was a handheld shot (Canon SX40) from the front deck on Gabriola. From our perspective, the moon was rising over Vancouver International Airport. What a marvellous world this is...such beauty, and such mystery. 


  1. Totally jealous! Beautiful pics...we have so much to be thankful for (including new cameras) LOL

  2. Hi Duncan,

    Thanks for that, I agree. The trail becomes a path and the path becomes a road and the road becomes a highway. I'll to stick with the lesser travelled - the trail. Happy paddling. Gen.

  3. Thanks for that, L. Yes, thankful indeed for this "living planet", the only "home" we have. We need to take good care of it. :) D.

    Cheers Gen. Those "trails" are indeed the preferred venue for life's best adventures. Always good to hear from you. Duncan.

  4. Great stuff Duncan, I love to be out in the hills or on the water on calm nights like this - as you say it sharpens all the senses!

    Kind regards

  5. I can well imagine the ancient history that comes "alive" to spark the imagination in those mystical Scottish hills and glens. :) Many thanks, Ian. Duncan.

  6. Thanks for the attitude adjustment. It was only tonight after supper I looked out and cursed the shortening of day! Your post is beyond true. Thanks again!

  7. Oh I have my moments too, Lee, believe me. But can't do much about the seasons - the "earth's tilt" is here to stay! So we make the best of it. :)

    Cheers from this island to yours. Duncan.